The world changed forever in 2020, and throughout 2021 we have seen the ripple effect of those changes.

This year we have seen used car prices increase, rural house prices go up and in perhaps the biggest shock of them all – Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona to fulfil his socialist ambitions at PSG.

Not to be forgotten, the world of work has changed irreversibly and forever too. 

In 2020 it was a client’s market – companies had the jobs and the power. Great candidates who were being let go through absolutely no fault of their own were struggling and scrambling to get back into work. Think green Linkedin stickers on our profile with “open to work”. 

In 2021, that tide has now most certainly turned. KPMG’s report last month showed there was a significant candidate shortage and we’ve seen it here with our clients at Marketing Moves – it’s now becoming increasingly difficult to hire great talent and the power is most certainly back in the hands of the candidates.

So why is this?

At all levels of employment, some companies perhaps took their 2020 situation for granted – or thought it would last a lot longer than it did. 

For example, Pret-a-Manger cut wages last year and recently announced they would become fixed in 2021.

Google has cut wages for those who opt to work from home, even though it costs them less and productivity with no commute or water cooler distractions is often higher.

Now that the UK has unlocked there is a certain feeling amongst people to do what they’ve always dreamed of doing, such as starting a new business or changing career. This lust for life has seen a 25% nosedive in Weight Watchers shares, and means people simply won’t put up with working a job they’re not happy in. 

Now more than ever, phrases such as life is too short or you could die tomorrow have a more literal meaning. 

So what are the issues making people participate in what the US has termed The Great Resignation?

There’s an excellent article in this week’s Guardian that listed 17 questions to ask yourself if you were thinking of quitting, and two particularly resonated with me. Namely:

  • Should I quit over my toxic boss?
  • When should I quit over stress?

Tellingly, the article suggests that unless you can change who you report to in a large company, there is very little you can do about a toxic boss. So as we all work for smaller and smaller start ups, it looks like toxic bosses are here to stay. Until that is, we all leave our jobs citing said toxic boss, who ultimately learns the error of their toxic ways. 

To reinforce this view that management is so important to get right in order to reduce attrition, Gallup research clearly shows that people leave bad bosses, not bad companies. 

Conversely with stress, the article makes some excellent suggestions on how we can begin to see that stress is ultimately something we put on ourselves. In effect, we are our own toxic boss at times! It offers some great ways to deconstruct that feeling into core elements, then go about tackling and overcoming it. Do please read this section if stress is something that affects you. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though!

Some companies have realised the error of their ways before everyone jumps ship (you simply must read the way an entire Burger King team quit their jobs).

For instance, Goldman Sachs raised pay after 95 hour week complaints and Bumble has given staff unlimited paid holiday.

So it looks like companies are learning – if a 500% increase in job ads with a working from home option is anything to go by.

Here’s hoping this enlightened thinking stays!

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